Today we are pleased to announce that we have signed a purchase order (PO) with our co-packer, RFI. This is an exciting milestone in Soylent’s development, and a huge step towards the shipment of Soylent preorders. To date, our valued supporters have ordered approximately 175,000 days of Soylent — over 350,000,000 calories!
To ensure quick fulfillment of reorders, we are manufacturing 225,000 days initially, with subsequent manufacturing runs scheduled for early 2014. Our number-one priority is that every person who has received their Soylent is able to reorder more for immediate delivery.
RFI has provided the following tentative timeline for production:
6-8 weeks for procuring raw ingredients. Our vegan vitamin and mineral blend has the longest lead time and will be subject to the most rigorous of testing for heavy metals and impurities. The FDA has given particular consideration to vitamin and mineral claims and requires the greatest amount of testing to ensure all claims regarding levels and concentrations are valid.
2-3 weeks for identity and microbial testing of each ingredient. Ingredients will be tested as they arrive to reduce the total lead time. One of the main reasons why we chose RFI is because they are at the top of the industry when it comes to testing and quality assurance; often times running valuable tests for impurities and potential health hazards that aren’t required by any state or federal laws. We will post every test result on our website so you know that Soylent is pure and safe.
3-4 weeks for blending, quality assurance testing and packaging of 225,000 days of Soylent. Approximately 70,000 days of Soylent will be produced, tested and shipped weekly. As soon as the first week of production finishes and proper quality assurance tests are run, we will be able to start the first shipment of Soylent.
According to RFI, subsequent orders will take a total of 10-12 weeks to source, test and manufacture. The main reason for the reduction in future order lead times is due to the fact that RFI runs additional tests on new ingredients (the vitamin/mineral blend) that take an extra 1-2 weeks. Presumably, future orders will not have the new ingredient testing requirements.
We are in the process of finalizing rates with our shipping carriers (UPS, Fedex, Ontrac, USPS) and fulfillment centers. RFI is not capable of doing liquid bottling but we are in the final stages of negotiations with an oil bottling co-packer in Wichita Falls, TX. Canola oil and fish oil have already been sourced and the oil bottling process is almost entirely automated, meaning we can have all 225,000 units produced in less than 6 weeks. Our oil suppliers will provide certificates of authenticity (C of A’s) which we will post on our website as well.
Pouches, pitchers, merchandise (t-shirts, cups, bottles etc.) and boxes have already been sourced and will be ordered in the coming weeks. RFI will receive all of the required packaging before they begin production. RFI will be responsible for bundling Soylent and oil bottles into weekly packs and loading onto pallets for pick-up by our fulfillment center. The fulfillment center will then take the batch orders list, bundle weekly Soylent into monthly Soylent for those who ordered, apply an address label and our shipping carrier will pick-up for delivery to doorsteps.
Today is October 25th and ten weeks from now is January 3rd. If all goes according to this plan, Soylent will start hitting your doorsteps the week of January 6th. We understand this is a few weeks later than our previous delivery estimate and understand that this is frustrating for our supporters. Fortunately, now that the manufacturing process has been fully initiated, our future delivery estimates will be increasingly precise, and we will continue to be diligent about updating you on our production timeline.
As discussed in our previous Operations Update, we will be shipping larger orders first, to ensure we don’t get a flood of reorders in the second week of shipping. If you ordered 1+ months of Soylent, your shipment should go out in the first week of fulfillment. At our forecast production rate of 70,000 units/week, all orders should be fulfilled by the third week of shipments.
Thank you everyone for your patience and support throughout this journey. We can’t wait for you to try Soylent.
Thanks to Julio Miles for reviewing this post.